At some point it was bound to happen. According to a December 14 AP piece, Joe Francis was busted for filming underage girls. In case you don’t know the name, Francis is the genius (and I’m not being sarcastic) behind the “”Girls Gone Wild” releases. He got community service and his company, Mantra Films Inc., agreed to pay a $1.6 million fine.

That’s what you get for pleading guilty to “”using drunken 17-year-olds” in videos that the company filmed at Panama City Beach during a spring break and, on an associated note, “”failing to properly label its DVDs.” As part of the shaming ordeal, Francis was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak to read a victim impact statement from one of the girls who claimed she was “”emotionally tormented” by her drunken escapades in the video and that it “”damaged her relationship with her family.”

Only in America would “”Girls Gone Wild” be so successful. Our country is full of dumb guys who don’t get to see enough real breasts in their lives, so this is the next best thing … and it doesn’t make anyone feel dirty like porn does (though I respect porn more). Only in America would women be so damn willing to lift their tops at the drop of a hat for the catcalls of brain-dead alcoholics. Only in America would we feel sorry for a 17-year-old who gets drunk and is then videotaped and “”emotionally tormented” by her own stupidity and lack of self-discipline. I hope the police in her home town are keeping an eye on her for underage drinking because I doubt the four drinks she had during spring break were an anomaly. To be totally fair, if Francis is guilty of filming underage girls (and he is), she’s guilty of being stupid and should also be shamed.

The average 17-year-old female is more than capable of making decisions on her own (unless, of course, she has some type of brain damage, which could be assumed about anyone starring in one of these videos, but is not a given). That’s why we let 17-year-olds drive and work. They may not be able to do everything an 18-year-old does, but they are supposed to know the difference between right and wrong and smart and stupid. If these girls were too dumb to know that getting drunk and flashing your tits for a camera could be a bad idea, they should consider it a learning experience and chalk it up to sheer drunken stupidity.

As for that girl whose relationship with her family was “”damaged” by her idiocy — are you serious? If you are a victim, as you claim, shouldn’t your family be standing by your side and offering its support? Or are they so strict and unsympathetic that a lifetime of dealing with that kind of coldness and apathy led you to do such a thing in the first place? If your relationship with your family is “”damaged” by this, then it wasn’t that great to begin with. Of course, if the damage is all on your end and you’re too ashamed to face them — good. Again, it’s a lesson learned. Bite the bullet and keep your f*****g halter top on next time you decide alcohol makes a fun camera companion.

Francis needs to be more careful, too. He claims the girls lied about their ages, and I actually believe that. He’s got to know authorities are just waiting to bust him for something like this, though, and he also has to know it can create a pretty huge civil suit as well as possible jail time for filming underage drunks. I believe in this case, Francis is more of a victim than these girls, however. He states it has always been his policy not to film girls under the age of 18. That seems like a good policy. Now, because some girls lied and found remorse, he’s got to pay. Yes, he did technically break the law, but a fine and community service? I guess he got lucky by not having to serve time (which also says to me that perhaps the judge thought he might actually be telling the truth, too). Here’s a thought: Maybe Francis should sue the girls for putting his business at risk. I don’t believe such a suit would go anywhere, but think of how scared those families would be when all those lawyers start giving them paperwork.

As a society, we need to be smarter than this. Francis is a millionaire because he appeals to the lowest common denominator, and last time I checked there’s no shortage of females (underage or not) willing to help him line his pockets. Being drunk shouldn’t excuse one’s behavior, either. I don’t feel sorry for these girls, and if I were Francis, I would sue them. This shouldn’t have happened, and we shouldn’t be giving people victimhood status because of their own stupidity. Smoak told Francis that it didn’t “”take a very brave man” to “”corner a girl in the middle of spring break who had four drinks.” He’s right. It didn’t take a brave man. It took an opportunist. You know how you stop opportunists? You take away the opportunity. Act prey, fall prey to predator. Act dumb, be treated like it. Don’t go crying to authorities afterwards, though, and don’t try to tell me I’m blaming all victims. I’m blaming these “”victims.” If we’re making Francis pay for his mistake, we should demand the same of his “”victims.” And maybe then they’ll learn to never be a victim again.

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